Super Bowl XLVII betting preview
Tonight head coach brothers Jim and John Harbaugh lead the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII, but the bookmakers seem sure that it is the younger sibling, Jim, who will guide his side to victory in New Orleans, with the 49ers offered at odds of no bigger than 10/19 with Ladbrokes and Paddy Power. BetVictor offer the best odds of 15/8 on the Ravens lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
In the point-spread (handicap) betting the Ravens can be backed to win with a +4.5 point start at evens with Ladbrokes, with the 49ers available at 20/21 with a -4.5 point deficit.
At the start of the season the AFC Ravens were available at odds of 20/1 to win the Super Bowl, with the NFC 49ers a best price of 14/1 - and were two of the four teams we tipped in our season preview (the 49ers beat one of our other tips, the 28/1 Atlanta Falcons, in the NFC Championship game - despite trailing 24-10 at half-time).
What we did not anticipate pre-season was the role to be played by San Francisco replacement quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was handed the reins by Jim Harbaugh following a concussion in November to starter Alex Smith. His impact was immediate, combining arm strength with poise and coolness under pressure and he kept his place when Smith recovered, to lead the 49ers to their first Super Bowl since the 1994 season.
Bookies make him the favourite to be named Super Bowl MVP at best odds of 7/5 (Sky Bet) and if the 49ers win, he's the most likely recipient, so those considering backing the NFC team at short odds might be better advised to back him rather than his team at just 10/19.
The Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is 10/3 with Bet365 to be named MVP and he has also looked the part in the playoffs, where he has out-played two legends in Peyton Manning (Denver Bronco's) and Tom Brady (New England Patriots) to get his team to New Orleans.
The return of controversial but inspirational linebacker Ray Lewis from injury undoubtedly also inspired the Ravens and he would cap a remarkable career if he were to win a second Super Bowl ring - the first being 12 years ago when the Ravens won their only Super Bowl. Lewis was named MVP back in January 2001 - only the second linebacker to win the award - and he can be backed at best odds of 19/2 (Stan James) to repeat the feat.
It's worth noting here that if Ray Lewis is named MVP, BetVictor will refund all losing Half Time/Full Time, Winning Margin, First/Last Touchdown and MVP bets as a free bet.
The 49ers had the better regular season record of 11-4-1, compared to the Ravens 10-6 and while statistically they match up pretty evenly in offense (both averaging just under 25 points per game), the 49ers look to have the stronger rearguard - ranked the the 2nd best defense in the league this season, compared to the Ravens who were ranked =12th in that respect. That said, Ray Lewis missed much of the season and in the AFC Championship game he and his defensive teammates limited Tom Brady and co. to just one touchdown.
Kaepernick is an excellent rushing quarterback, but is making only his tenth NFL start and it will be interesting to see how he copes with the pressure applied by the Ravens. He will look to receivers Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss (in the absence of the injured Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams), not that the veteran Moss doubts his ability - proclaiming himself to be the game's greatest receiver of all time this week! He can be backed at 11/4 with Stan James and William Hill to back-up that claim by scoring a touchdown (they both offer 20/1 he scores the first touchdown).
Joe Flacco is far more experienced and his deep passing game can create problems for the 49ers - he has an incredible record of 15 touchdowns and no interceptions on deep passes this season. Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones are speedy options, although his favoured receiver is Anquan Boldin, star of the AFC Championship game, who is 12/1 (Stan James & Sky Bet) to score the first touchdown and 6/4 with the same bookmakers to score a touchdown at any time.
Despite the fact that NFC teams have won the last three Super Bowl's, the inexperience of Kaepernick is a concern and at the odds we fancy the Ravens can cause an upset in the Louisiana Superdome.
Of course, you can bet on anything in the Super Bowl even the coin-toss, for which Betfred at least have the decency to offer evens on heads and tails. Here are the bookmaker special offers available:
Betfred: First Touchdown - Double odds if your player scores the first touchdown and goes on to score another (and treble the odds if he scores three).
BetVictor: If Ray Lewis is named MVP - Losing Half Time/Full Time, Winning Margin, First/Last Touchdown and MVP bets, as a free bet.
Coral: Moneyback on outright bets if your team are winning at the fourth quarter two-minute warning and lose.
Ladbrokes: If either defense scores a touchdown, they'll refund losing 'in-play' Next Touchdown Scorer and Winning Margin bets, as a free bet.
Ladbrokes: If the game goes to overtime, they'll refund losing First Touchdown Scorer, Half Time/Full Time and Winning Margin bets, as a free bet.
Paddy Power: Moneyback on losing Total Match Points or Total Team Points bets if there is a touchdown in the last 2 minutes of regular time.
|Baltimore Ravens||Super Bowl Winners
|Anquan Boldin||First Touchdown Scorer||12/1
||Stan James & Sky Bet
|Anquan Boldin||Anytime Touchdown Scorer
||Stan James & Sky Bet